I hope that you have had a peaceful Easter break. Easter is one of the key times of year where many of us dig a little deeper to support charities. Here inMelbourne the Good Friday Appeal raised over $16.8 million for The Royal Children’s Hospital and I know there were other fundraising events throughout thecountry.
We have been busy this year developing the ACNC Register which enables the community to find charities that they can support with confidence. Using theRegister, you can easily search to find registered charities by location or beneficiary. You can also view information the charity has supplied in theirAnnual Information Statement.
Susan Pascoe is taking a well-deserved rest for the next two weeks, in the meantime there has been a lot going on at the ACNC that I’d like to update youon.
Seeking lost charitiesWe are grateful to the 26,000 charities who have already filed an Annual Information Statement. There are, however, a number of charities who we have had great difficulty in contacting. These charities were automatically registered with us based on information provided from the ATO, which was out-of-date. Attempts to contact these charities have resulted in unopened mail being returned to us. The ACNC needs to determine whether these charities are still operating.
The ACNC is asking for your help in reaching registered charities that we have not been able to contact since we commenced operation on 3 December 2012.
If we do not hear from these charities we will assume they have stopped operating and we will revoke their registration as charities with the ACNC. Thismeans that the charities will no longer have access to their charity tax concessions administered by the ATO. Obviously this is a significant step, so weare asking you to help us find them.
Through a new page on our website you can search through these charities by name, location or ABN. We ask that you check this list to see if you areinvolved with, or have knowledge of, any of these charities.
Latest ACNC statistics and questions and answers
We are often asked for updates on our progress and to respond to questions about the ACNC’s role as the national charity regulator. In response to theserequests we have updated information on our website. Here you can find out about our role, accurate information in response to topical issues about charityregulation and up to date statistics about our work. We hope that it explains what we have been doing over the last 16 months and that you will find itinteresting.
Comparing different models of international charity regulation
Recently, the ACNC had the pleasure of hosting the International Charity Regulators meeting in Melbourne. Delegates from seven common law jurisdictionsattended: Australia, Canada, England & Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland and Singapore. The tax revenue agencies from Australia, the UnitedKingdom, and New Zealand also attended. The meeting was followed by a forum and panel discussion, hosted in Sydney by the Australian Charity LawAssociation, where the charity and NFP sector were able to ask questions of the international regulators and their experience.
The two-day forum proved an invaluable opportunity to share common regulatory experiences and challenges, learnings on regulatory best practice, andeffective measures to support the charity sector.
When establishing the ACNC we benefited enormously from the experience of many of our international counterparts, in particular New Zealand, Canada,Singapore and England and Wales. We took elements from each of these jurisdictions and learnt lessons from things that worked well as well as frommistakes. Now, we have been able to provide support and guidance to Ireland’s new charity regulator which is expected to be established at the end of thismonth.
Of particular interest is how the Australian regulatory model compares with its international counterparts in terms of budget, regulation model, level ofindependence and number of charities registered. The ACNC model is unique to Australia and the sector and context that we operate in.
A summary of the meeting and a handy comparative table of the international regulation models is published on our website.
ACNC Senate inquiry submissions
In the last column, Commissioner Pascoe noted that the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Repeal) (No. 1) Bill 2014 (Cth) had beenreferred to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee for inquiry and report. Submissions to the report close on 2 May and the reporting date is 16 June2014.
You can make a submission or read submissions to the inquiry on the Parliament of Australia website.
Good governance a priority for new charities
We have carried out a review of the significant ACNC compliance cases, which has confirmed that issues of poor governance are at the heart of the 15 mostsignificant current compliance cases. One-third of these cases involved charities less than five years old, all were charities of varying size, and theywere from every state and territory except the Northern Territory.
The best way to protect your charity from such failings is to review your processes and policies and ensure that your board members understand their rolesand responsibilities.
Issues with governance usually arise through a charity board’s inexperience or understanding of good governance. The ACNC has a series of guides, includingour publications ‘Governance for Good’ and ‘Protecting your Charity from Fraud’, that are available free on our website and can help charities ensure theyare practicing good governance.
Our phone number is 13 ACNC (13 22 62) or you can email us at email@example.com.
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